Securing a summer internship is no easy task. You spend hours (days even) preparing the perfect resume. You spend weeks role-playing interviews so you can answer any question. You spend money on the perfect professional wardrobe. Finally, the interview arrives and you nail it. It’s a matter of days before you receive the call saying you were selected as the summer intern. Time for a celebration — all the hard work is over, right?
Not exactly. While landing an internship takes a lot of preparation, the hard work begins as soon as you accept the position. Now you’re the one with all of the questions — how do I stand out among all of the other interns? How do I make my mark on the industry? How do I secure a future job with the company?
Fortunately you are not the only person who has been in this position. A number of public relations professionals before you have gone through the same series of events, trying to get the most out of any summer internship. One of them is Catherine Havel, a Western Kentucky University graduate and former PRSSA member. Catherine offers some insight she gained during her time as an intern.
What are some tips you have learned from your summer internships?
“Enter into the office on day one with the mission of earning the reputation of being the ‘yes man’ or ‘yes woman.’ If you’re having a slow day in the office, approach your co-workers and seek work. Take every project thrown your way, plus some, and complete them all with a strong work ethic paired with a smile.”
What’s one thing that you think all new interns should practice?
“Practice what I call the four-part introduction — your eye contact, handshake, verbal introduction and smile. This exercise can be done in front of your bathroom mirror alone or with someone who has much more professional experience. I suggest the latter of the two for optimal results.”
What was your daily routine? Do you have any suggestions or routines interns should incorporate into their everyday schedule?
“Find what works best for you. I’ve read countless scholarly and not-so-scholarly articles on the morning routines of some of the most disruptively creative individuals that have ever lived. I’ve pondered sleeping less like Edison and creating more like Einstein, before arriving on the following point. The mark of a successful creative is the ability to conceptualize original ideas. So find what makes you, you, and do that everyday for the rest of your life.”
Needless to say, do not let the work involved with interning end once you get the job. Internships are designed to teach and grow young professionals; evident in the advice we get from young mentors like Catherine. One of the most beneficial things we learn from interning is the advice we are able to give our peers afterward. If you have any tips, share them. I’m sure there is an ear waiting to listen.
PRSSA Vice President of Public Relations Nolan Miles is a student at Western Kentucky University and the Senior News Experience Designer for Western iMedia. Follow him on Twitter @no_miles or on LinkedIn.